Friday, January 14, 2011
Thome Signs with Twins
After rumors that the Texas Rangers were majorly involved with the aging slugger, Jim Thome decided to stay in Minnesota for another season. The one year deal includes $3 million guaranteed plus incentives based on plate appearances. Last season, Thome added a good deal of thump to the Twins lineup. In 276 at-bats for the Twins, Thome posted a slash line of .283/.412/.627 (avg./obp./slg.), hit 25 home runs and drove in 59 runs. He hit right-handed pitchers especially well, posting a 1.047 OPS (on-base plus slugging).
Thome's new deal is good for both sides. His salary from last season is doubled (before incentives) and the Twins keep an effective power hitter in DH slot. The Twins, as always, seem primed for another possible AL Central title, but both the White Sox and the Tigers should be better then they were last season, when the Twins ended up running away with the division title at the end of the season. Thome stays in a deep lineup that includes Denard Span, Delmon Young, Alexi Casilla, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, rising young star Danny Valencia and, of course, Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. If Morneau rebounds from his concussion problems at the end of last season, the middle of the Twins lineup (Young, Mauer, Morneau, Thome) is one of the very best in baseball.
Thome is only 11 home runs away from 600 for his career, having already blasted 589. He is only 20 away from seventh place on the all-time list, which is currently held by Sammy Sosa (609). Last season it took Thome until July 19th to hit his 11th home run of the season, so I'll guess that it will be closer towards the middle of the season when Thome finally hits number 600.